Thursday Night Movie Club
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Release Date: 6 March 2009

Director: Zack Snyder
Malin Akerman
Billy Crudup
Matthew Goode
Jackie Earle Haley
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Patrick Wilson
Carla Gugino
Matt Frewer
Stephen McHattie
Laura Mennell
Rob LaBelle
Gary Houston
James M. Connor
Mary Ann Burger
John Shaw
Laurie Jupiter / Silk Spectre II
Dr. Manhattan / Jon Osterman
Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias
Edward Blake / Comedian
Dan Dreiberg / Nite Owl
Sally Jupiter / Silk Spectre
Hollis Mason
Janey Slater
Wally Weaver
John McLaughlin
Pat Buchanan
Eleanor Clift
Doug Roth
Watchmen movie poster Watchmen movie poster Watchmen movie poster
Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley in WatchmenWatchmen is a confusing mess of a movie. The film looks great. There is a dark, brooding, foreboding feeling that permeates throughout. Fans of the graphic novel by Dave Gibbons (graphic novel illustrator) and Alan Moore might be able to follow the plot. The uninitiated will find the story difficult to handle.

The year is 1985 in an alternate reality. The doomsday clock, showing the tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, is set at 5 minutes to midnight. A group of superheroes calling themselves "Watchmen" keep the world safe from the forces of evil. Their methods are radical. They dispense justice with extreme predjudice. Arresting evil-doers is for wimps or the cops. Their overzealous approach causes too much collateral damage and the Watchmen are shut down by the government. The heroes go into hiding and try to live their lives like normal people.

Mailin Akerman as Laurie Jupiter / Silk Spectre II in WatchmenOne of the Watchmen Edward Blake aka "The Comedian" (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is brutally murdered. Another Watchmen known only as Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) arrives on the scene and begins his own private investigation. His search confirms the identity of the dead man. Who would have the ability to brutalize and murder a man who is very adept at brutality himself? Rorschach is bothered by the implication. Was the murder committed by one of their own or is there a new enemy in town? Rorschach must warn the others.

Whatever is going on, it is evident that the remaining members of the Watchmen can stop the devious plot. They must be eliminated, arrested or discredited to get them out of the way. They are superheroes so they will rise to the occassion and stop whatever is going on. But what is going on? Good luck trying to figure that out.

The middle section of Watchmen is the confusing part. The film jumps between the present and the 1960's where a different group of Watchmen, called Minutemen, keep watch. There is a Silk Spectre in the past and a Silk Spectre in the present, portrayed by different actresses. The film takes its time to explain the two are mother and daughter. The mother was raped by The Comedian and the daughter was the result. Is this exposition important to tell the story? No. This just adds to the overall length of the film.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Edward Blake/The Comedian in WatchmenWatchmen has way too many characters for its own good. Movies based on Marvel or D.C. Comics have characters the audience is familiar with. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, etc. have been around for a long time. Watchmen contains a long list of characters no one has heard of. The audience does not know what their abilities are. At least half of the Watchmen do not seem to have any super-human abilities other than they have advanced fighting skills.

The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a brute who has plenty of weapons he likes using. Night Owl (Patrick Wilson) looks a lot like Batman but with shorter ears. Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman) has a great body and a very sexy outfit. She can kick ass as well as any man but she cannot become invisible or generate of force field. Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) is a strange character. He wears a white mask with black blotches that keep changing their pattern, just like a psychological Rorschach test. It's an interesting idea for a character except that the blotches do not reveal anything about the character or further the plot line. Big whoop!

Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan / Jon Osterman in WatchmenThe strangest of the group is Dr. Manhattan/Jon Osterman (Billy Crudup). Osterman is a scientist who worked on the original atomic bomb. An accidental overexposure to "gamma" radiation turns him into the glow-in-the-dark Dr. Manhattan, so named after the Manhattan project. Dr. Manhattan has the ability to control atomic structure with his mind and even teleport himself around the planet. He voluntarily confines himself to protect others while continuing his research.

Finally, there is the Watchman Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias (Matthew Goode). What? Ozymandias? What the... is that supposed to mean? Wouldst thou can spellest Ozymandias? Anyone know what this guy is supposed to be?

Mailin Akerman and Patrick Wilson in WatchmenBottom line, the Watchmen are a group of right, smart bastards. There isn't anyone in the group the audience identifies with or even roots for. Watchmen only takes off during the final half-hour or so when the clues lead the Watchmen to a hidden laboratory in the Arctic where a plot is being launched to start a nuclear holocaust. The confusion returns along with the return of someone who was supposedly killed. Since it is difficult to keep the characters straight, it is difficult to follow what happens to them.

Watchmen is a visually stunning film. Director Zack Snyder has crafted an exciting film. The film is interesting and never boring. Unfortunately, there are too many characters and way too many overlapping stories to make sense of the numerous plot lines. None of the characters has a single redeeming quality. They are not a group of people anyone would care what happens to them. The original graphic novel by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore may have been just as confusing. The novel can be read at a leisurely pace and even reread in parts to allay any confusion. The movie version must be told at a pace set by the director and editor. Ultimately Watchmen fails as a motion picture.